Oakham United travel to face Parson Drove in second match of Groundhop weekend
Joint Oakham United manager Stewart Lambie is hoping his side can use their appearance in the popular Groundhop weekend to highlight the resurgence of the Rutland club.
United open their Peterborough League Premier Division campaign on Saturday morning with a trip to newly-promoted Parson Drove (kick-off 10.45am).
The match is the second game in the United Counties League/Peterborough League Groundhop weekend which usually attracts good crowds to the flurry of fixtures.
And, after a campaign of stability last season under Lambie and co-boss Michael Nelson following their relegation the previous year from the United Counties League, Oakham are hoping Saturday's showdown will showcase their progress.
However, they face a tough test against a Drove side who are packed with players with higher level experience.
Former Holbeach United and Wisbech winger Billy Smith is the latest addition to the Drove ranks which also includes ex-Fenmen duo Nick Davey and Kieran Hamilton.
Davey hit 38 goals for the Cambridgeshire side last season as they lost just one game on their way to claiming the Division One title.
Lambie said: "I'm looking at it two ways. We get to play away at Parson Drove early on rather than having to go there in November or December.
"It could also be of benefit to the club in the long-term. The Groundhop is always well supported and it's a chance for us to get people talking about Oakham United in a good way. We're looking forward to it."
After finishing in eighth place last term, Lambie is targeting a tilt at honours after a solid pre-season.
They have bolstered their squad by signing Alex Brockbank and Steve Mastin while a number of the club's emerging youngsters have impressed in friendlies which included a 1-1 draw with United Counties League Premier Division side Peterborough Northern Star.
Lambie added: "I am very pleased with the youngsters coming through. We've had four or five of the Under 17s with us and they've done really well.
"They will be a big asset to the reserves this season and I know that they can do a job for us as well if needed.
"The aim for us is promotion, but we know that is going to be hard this year because the likes of Parson Drove and Peterborough Sports North End will be wanting the same thing.
"Moulton Harrox are always up there while Peterborough ICA are moving to a new ground and will have similar ambitions."
Oakham will be without joint boss Nelson, who was the Peterborough League Premier Division top scorer last season, for Saturday's trip while goalkeeper Charley Griffin faces a late fitness.
Lambie has deputised in the last couple of pre-season friendlies which culminated in a 3-2 defeat at Harborough Reserves on Saturday for an Oakham side which was missing nine first-team regulars.
More by this authorJames Bedford